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A case of mistaken identity, a murder for hire plot, a guy in the cross hairs trying to protect a potential victim and keep his family safe- sounds like my kind of story... but, there's more going on than what you see on the surface, as Nick White finds out first hand.

A Woman walks into a bar.... Nick plays along with a women who he thinks has mistaken him for a blind date. It's all in good fun until he realizes that instead of meeting a date, she is there to meet a hit man, and she believes he is her guy. Now, Nick is in real pickle because he feels he needs to warn the potential murder victim, plus the real hit man knows who he is, where he lives and all about his family too.

So begins an atmospheric tale with flawed protagonist, Nick White, who has a serious gambling issue which has cost him his marriage. Now, instead of poker, Nick is playing a high stakes game where money is not the only commodity.

This is the part where it becomes difficult to explain things without giving away too much of the plot.

I was very engaged in the story up until about the half way mark when it suddenly went off course and became something other than a crime thriller. The plot and writing was really tight up to this point, but dissolved into a sloppy disappointment.

None of the characters, except Nick's father, are all that likeable, although Nick does try to pull off an act of nobility, even if it does blow up in his face. His heart is in the right place, although he has some selfish issues he needs to reign in. So, although he has screwed up his life pretty good, this bump in the road may give him a second change in life... I just hope he does blow it.

So, what works is the noir style ambiance created in the beginning, the cat and mouse games, the race against the clock and a sense of urgency, all of which took place in the first half of the book.

What didn't work was the introduction of other thriller sub-genres, a highly implausible plot twist, and the anti-climactic conclusion.

While this type of thriller doesn’t really do it for me that is not to say others won't find this one appealing. Many of my issues boiled down to personal taste, and I will give the author points to having a vivid imagination and for taking the usual tried and true crime drama to another realm, and there is certainly nothing wrong with that, it just wasn't what I was expecting, I suppose. Recommended to those who enjoy crime with fantastical twist, not rooted in reality as we know it...yet.

Over all 3 stars

Book Blurb for Ruthless

Nick White is the only person who can save Abigail Pierce. After uncovering a plot to have her killed, he attempts to warn her but instead puts himself squarely in the crosshairs. They know who he is, they know where he lives, they know how to get at his family.

Drawn into the conspiracy surrounding Abigail, Nick soon discovers the danger is bigger than he ever believed. Now he must uncover the truth to save her and himself. Gripping and intense, this novel is a twisted thrill ride from bestselling author John Rector.

Night Owl Reviews Jun, 2015 3.00